Located in the up- and coming neighbourhood of Silom, tourists and locals continue find their way to the Unicorn Café. The interior designer must have taken his inspiration from “The Powerpuff Girls”, “My Little Pony” and “Hello Kitty” and it certainly shows. Unicorn Cafe serves coffee, tea and cake, along with more special creations like their Unicorn Rainbow Cheeseburger. On their Facebook page, there is a video of the multi-coloured cheese, neatly draped on a patty of beef so you may want to check that out.
Now ask yourself; how often do you get the chance to slip into a furry unicorn suit and enjoy a cup of tea with your very best friends? If the explosion of pastel colours is not enough to make your teeth melt, the behaviour of the guests around you will. Little local girls posing in mini-unicorn suits and twinks enjoying rainbow cake while complimenting each other’s nails are completely normal at Unicorn Café.
This place is incredibly popular with girls, young girls with their moms, boys who want to be girls and boys who are man enough to bring their girl here on a date. Go see it for yourself! Unicorn Café doesn’t take reservations so you will be at the mercy of a come-first, served-first basis.
The Iron Fairies
Iron Fairies is by chance one of the more famous themed cafés in Bangkok, and technically it is more of a restaurant. However, they deserve a place on this list as they started the trend of themed establishments in Bangkok. Initially built in a tiny house, The Iron Fairies has a gloomy interior featuring excellent food and cocktails, great (live) jazz and countless references to the saga of The Iron Fairies. In the early years you could buy vials of Fairy Dust and a real Iron Fairy in a little pouch as well. I haven’t seen the books and merchandise in a while but it was a great souvenir if you happened to be there back then.
Credit: 27 begins
In the meantime, Iron Fairies has expanded into a brand of some sorts, so make sure you go visit the original. The Iron Fairies Dragonfly is Disney-fied version of the original and caters more to a Thai audience than the expat crowd that made Iron Fairies big. In this particular case that is not a good thing, as most of the unique charm of the original seems to be lost in translation. So make sure you visit the original in Thong Lor.
What makes The Iron Fairies so special is the shadowy atmosphere, in combination with great food and service, with some quality entertainment at just the right volume. This area of Bangkok is filled with trendy venues and most of them are very visible. The Iron fairies present a nice counterpoint because there won’t be any Porsches or Lambos parked up front. Instead, you will merely see a well-dressed doorman ushering you inside. Highly recommended for a date, but especially on weekends a reservation is key.
Big Dog Café
I don’t know where the craze originated from, but Japan is always a good guess. Petting cafés are getting more and more popular around Bangkok and Big Dog Café is one of the very best. Located in Huai Khwang, Big Dog Café has some of the biggest dogs in Bangkok, with the star of the show being “Solo”, a giant arctic dog who is cute, playful and awe-inspiring.
Credit: Jenny in South Korea
Note that a visit to the Big Dog Café is not on a walk-in basis. Reservations are required, and it is best to arrive at least 30 minutes in advance. You’ll check in, possibly order some food and soon after you finish your dish, the dogs will be released.
With over 20 big-breed dogs calling Big Dog Café their home, the potential for dirt is definitely there and it is miraculous how clean the place actually is. The manager told us they sweep the entire place multiple times a day which makes a lot of sense. What you get is a chance to interact with huskies, malamutes, chow-chow’s and some smaller species as well. Big Dog Café is a great place for dog lovers, and even thought the coffee is some of the best in Bangkok, the dogs are the real attraction.
On the River Café
Building on the Instagram opportunity thing; “On The River Café” is another establishment that really leveraged their selfie/picture potential. Close to Patumtani Bridge, On The River Café serves waffles and other desserts, but they have a selection of Thai food as well.
What makes this location special is the establishment itself. Built on an old river barge, the Café has that “school trip” feeling we all remember from when we were younger. This is a great getaway for a day as it is on the other side of Chao Praya River. And when the sun shines, management will lower the custom sun decks. These cool square frames spanned with nets will hold several adults with ease. Together with a cushion or two, they look great, they feel great and it is a nice experience to hang over the nippy river on a Sunday afternoon. This place is a bit of an undiscovered gem, so no reservation is needed.
Just outside Ratchathewi BTS Station (Exit 4), B-Story combines Victorian design with an almost impossible amount of flowers and plants. The result is a setting that feels both intimate and slightly European.
The barista in charge has some serious latte skills, creating 3D fluffy cats out of your Cappuccino foam in seconds and the interior will make you leave B-Story Café with a craving for old Tim Burton movies. For company dinners or creative meetings, there is a private room available as well so if you are looking to impress your colleagues, remember this place.
As B-Story is sufficiently far from the Western hot spots, most of the clientele is Thai through and through, and it shows everywhere. The food for instance is Western-oriented but definitely aimed at the Thai palate, meaning little cheese, but lots of cream and sugar.
Note that the private room has to be reserved in advance and management doesn’t allow people to work or study here. Given that B-Story is in a high-frequency area this makes perfect sense though, as students and Digital Nomads in the area have a tendency to open up a laptop and hog entire tables for hours on end. And I know I’ve mentioned him before, but the amazing barista at B-Story really does some of the best latte art in Bangkok.
Note that Bangkok is always moving and that there will be new places to discover on a regular basis, but the five cafés mentioned earlier have consistently been great. If you have any other recommendations and feel your themed café should have really made the list; let us know in the comments below!